Hawks fall hard in Colorado 5-1 as injuries mount - FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV

Hawks fall hard in Colorado 5-1 as injuries mount

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

On Tuesday night the Chicago Blackhawks fell behind early and couldn't do much right. They dominated the second period but didn't score and Colorado went on to capture two points with a 5-1 victory. The Avalanche jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead and never looked back.

Corey Crawford was pulled at 13:17 of the opening frame after giving up three goals. Crawford didn't have much chance on any of the goals. A bad giveaway by Brent Seabrook, a tip in, and then poor defensive coverage led to the third goal.

Rookie Antti Raanta came into the game and stopped 14 of 16 shots. Not an earth shaking debut for Raanta, but not much to criticize. Saying Crawford could use a rest is an understatement and Joel Quenneville may want to let Raanta play on Thursday in Winnipeg.

Crawford hasn't been as sharp as last season but his play shouldn't be faulted. For the most part he has been better than average and hasn't strung together poor efforts even though he has been overworked. Crawford has started 18 of the 22 games played thus far and has made appearances in two others.

Certainly GM Stan Bowman and Quenneville talked before the season and came up with a plan to follow. It is highly unlikely Crawford playing in well over 70 games was a feasible option. It's a long season and every variable can't be planned for but Crawford could use some time off. Whether the play of Raanta will allow Crawford to get much of a break on this road trip is still up in the air.

Besides Crawford needing a rest, Bowman and Quenneville will need to confer soon.

Bryan Bickell left the game in the first period after crashing into the goal post. It looked like Bickell hurt his left leg or ankle and was out for the rest of the game. The Blackhawks were already using defenseman Sheldon Brookbank at forward subbing for the injured Marian Hossa. So losing Bickell stung more than usual.

After the game Quenneville wasn't sure how long Bickell would be out. He did admit Bickell's injury could be more serious than the day to day variety. At this point it remains to be seen if Bickell will be placed on injured reserve or what the salary cap ramifications will be.

When Bowman pulled the trigger on the Kris Versteeg trade he had to realize the salary cap consequences of acquiring a $2.2 million player. So the Hawks could be tight to the cap limit and Bowman may have to get creative.

Hossa skated on Tuesday morning but didn't feel up to playing in the game. He might be able to play on Thursday and if so the roster may stay as is, with Brookbank continuing to play forward. If Bickell is out of action for awhile, Brookbank at forward is not the answer.

Beyond the injuries, salary cap concerns and an overworked Crawford the turnovers and careless play has happened too often. In two of the past three games the Hawks have been spanked. In both Nashville and Colorado falling behind early led to losses. Focus is such a big part of a successful season and that appears to be lacking lately.

Bowman, Quenneville, team doctors and the training staff could all be huddling up soon. The league office is available to be consulted on for complicated salary cap issues and they may hear from the Blackhawks front office. The Hawks already have three players on long term IR, and the NHL salary cap can get complicated.

So much uncertainty but there is one thing for sure.

The players need to be dialed in before a bad start to a long road trip leads to continued losing efforts.

I will be back on Friday morning and you can follow me on Twitter @AlCimaglia.

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